Top-level speakers, representing conflicting interests, are speaking at the pharma patent session of FICPI World Congress 2015 in Cape Town.
The session will essentially deal with "incremental" pharmaceutical patent rights, namely those patent rights covering innovations on a patented active principle, such as new dosages, new combinations, new forms (like polymorphs or enantiomers) or new methods of use.
Concerns have in fact been raised that this strategy, which is frequently referred to as "evergreening", might be used to prolong patent protection in an inappropriate manner, thus creating a negative effects on access to medicines as well as on further innovation.
Several countries, mainly developing and least developed countries (such as India, Philippines, Brazil but also Australia), have changed or are considering changing their laws or practices in order to prevent "evergreening".
On the other hand, "incremental" patent rights may nevertheless confer new and inventive clinical improvements, therapeutic advantages or the like. And may thus deserve patent protection.
The speakers have been selected to provide the audience with different, if not opposite, points of view and stimulate a discussion:
- Jürgen Dressel, Head Global Patent Litigation Strategy of Norvartis Pharma AG, will represent the originators’ point of view.
- Fiona Bor, Vice President and Global Head of Regional IP of Mylan, will represent the genericists’ one;
- Louis Harms, Hon Justice (former Deputy President of the Supreme Court of Appeal) and Professor at the Adams & Adams Chair in IP at the University of Pretoria, will represent the law; and
- Ellen ‘t Hoen, Founder of the Medicines Patent Pool, will speak on behalf of those people who need an easy and affordable access to medicines.
The session will be moderated by Roberto Pistolesi, European patent attorney at Dragotti & Associati and chairman of FICPI’s study commission dealing with life science-related inventions.
The goals of the session include understanding whether the concerns raised with respect to “evergreening” are justified or whether (and how) it would be possible to protect both the interest of patent holders and public health.